Portsmouth lecturers help bring astronomy to life with story of the planets

SCIENCE Children at Charles Dickens Junior School learned about galaxies and the beginning of the universe. From left, Maiesha Ahmed, Alfie Knight, Jack Beque, Faye Thomas, Sommer McNiff, Linvoy Miller, Saidur Choudhury and Tyler Glasby with some of the inflatable planets. Picture: Sarah Standing (133317-9620)

EXPERTS from the University of Portsmouth brought a taste of astronomy into the classroom as children learnt about galaxies and the beginning of the universe.

Pupils at Charles Dickens Primary School spent the morning working with lecturers who introduced the youngsters to deep space.

The workshop introduced Year 5 pupils to the mysteries surrounding the beginning of the universe, using inflatable planets to look at the solar system.

Joy Painting is a Year 5 teacher at the school. She said: ‘Space is one of the science topics within the curriculum. It was nice to have visitors in school to have a different perspective and to have an expert’s point of view.

‘It was successful and the children thoroughly enjoyed it.

‘A lot of them are now taking books out of the library about science.

‘This is an added dimension beyond what we can offer in the classroom.’

Dr Claudia Maraston is from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation at the university.

She said: ‘The day went well. The children interacted in all the activities. The school welcomed us with open arms.

‘One of the aims of the day was to stimulate the children to ask questions. It’s an important skill for any prospective scientist to have.

‘The response from the children was excellent. They were asking us when we could come back again.

‘The day is run on a voluntary basis by staff and students from the university. We hope that these children can be the physics students of the future.

‘It’s an important skill for a scientist to be able to explain complicated theories to the public in an easy-to-understand way.’

The children investigated and measured how far away the planets are from each other.

They also looked at different types of galaxies.

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